The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) has been excluded from the official debate for the European Commission presidency taking place tonight despite being the fifth largest group in the European parliament and despite having expressly requested to take part.
The gap between people and politicians on the issue of Europe has never been wider. Large majorities in every member state now want powers to be returned from Brussels to their national capitals. According to an opinion poll published in March, the number of people who want more European integration has fallen to 16 per cent in France, 12 per cent in Germany, and 5 per cent each in Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Without the participation of a representative from the AECR, the debate will simply be a discussion between candidates that all share in the same vison of a more federal union. No candidate participating today will represent the hundreds of milions of Europeans that want to return powers to the member states.
On the 20th of February 2014, AECR President Jan Zahradil MEP announced the AECR Board’s unanimous decision not to nominate a candidate for the position of Commission President. The AECR believes that there is no legal or constitutional basis for the process of European political parties proposing candidates for the presidency of the European Commission.
The AECR has approached the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on a number of occasions with requests to participate in the debate. However, the EBU has categorically rejected the participation of any AECR representatives.
AECR President Jan Zahradil MEP said:
“The AECR rejects harmonised taxes, EU embassies and an EU army. We believe in rolling back the EU bureaucracy to a point where it can provide all citizens with the benefits of free trade, free movement of people, goods, services and capital, improved competition and strong families. We are here to speak for the millions of Europeans who do not want to be part of a federal super-state. Sadly, this important perspective will not be represented in this ‘non-debate’.”
A video explaining the AECR’s decision to not run a candidate for the presidency of the European Commission can be found here.